"True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost." - Arthur Ashe Reid
Happy thanksgiving right? Ok, what to be thankful for...there's much out there these days that remind us what we really have. The politics (oh my gawd I wish we could start all over), the ridiculous taxes and laws passed this year (I think they want us to just disappear and die off), and the compete upheaval of my own personal life (admittedly self made)...makes me not thankful, but heartbroken. But through that heart break, I am able to see the things that truly matter. Breath, life, dogs and horses. These things never waiver. They are there, day in and day out, reminding me that there's a purpose to this gift of being human...and that's to give. It's to love. And it's to make mistakes so that we may be able to see the things of importance rather than to continue down a path of unrelenting selfishness. So although I'm heartbroken, it's given me the most thankful attitude I think I could ever muster...it's shown me who really cares...the cousin in the city who makes sure I have food and company...the lady at the bow shop who says "me too" and embraces me as a soul sister...the farmer down the road who welcomed me into his family run operation with patience and kindness...the roller derby women who have no qualms about reminding you how badass you really are...the dogs and horses who have connected my soul straight back to nature...the horse ladies, who have never judged the pain or insecurity within my journey...the movers who never questioned my life, but instead showed love and compassion during a time of self loss...a new friend who didn't care that I'd destroyed all those before her...a dog club that meets every Sunday and always has words of encouragement for themselves and one another, who remind me each week that good people can make mistakes and be forgiven...and a group of people who were strangers at the beginning of a fire, and family by the end of it. I'm beyond thankful for you all.
I can't rightly tell you exactly when or how our friendship started, but it's quickly become one of my most important. She's changed my view of real, true, meaningful relationships. And she's now one of my favourite humans. What I can tell you is that it started with a dog.
I've had dozens of women friends. Some I would have placed a bet on being life timers. I was sure they were my besties. My fierce lady friends. However, I'm hard on people...I'm hard to love. This I know. My decent into self destruction, and the follow up rebuilding stage was a time in my life of pushing people away. Finding their limits, then stepping over them. I'm to blame, and I paid the biggest price in losing my best friend in Keith.
I was leery. Walls up. No one was getting in again. Not on a real level. I wasn't going to allow anyone to get to me again...no way. Friendships were defined in my world by hurt, mistrust, pain, abandonment and anger. Megan redefined this for me. It became about love, acceptance, loyalty, trust and joy.
So, why is she so special? I've asked myself this, I have an answer for it. She allowed me to be me. The hurt, the mistrust, the pain, the abandonment issues and the anger. She helped turn that into loving myself, accepting myself, fierce loyalty, trusting others and living in joy again. She doesn't bat an eye when I switch from redneck spew to hippity dippity babble. Not once has she ever told me to "get over it". She was, is, and I'm sure will continue to be the most epic friend.
She uses phrases like "We have this, I got you", "I'm not letting you go through this alone" and my most recent, personal favourite "Vandal is OURS fair and square". Somewhere along the way, what was hers became mine, and mine hers. She's the kind of friend who walks in, grabs the wine and then listens to your woes til the wee hours of the morning. She values ladies nights, fits you into her life and is always up for a rodeo adventure. She thinks about you, even when she's in the middle of her own personal hell. She stands on the earth in her bare feet with you, and gets up for 5am yoga with you. She changes the radio station before you even get in the truck. She defends fiercely, supports unwaveringly and sends me awkward selfies so I can enjoy her most uncomfortable moments!
And she sends me things like this:
This lady is everything you'd ever want in a friend, then goes the extra mile. I'm pretty sure she has faults, but they tend to go unnoticed when her strengths shine so brightly.
So if you ever get a chance to get into this girls inner circle, don't hesitate. You'll be loved, honoured, helped up, reminded of your worth and held in esteem. When you find a friend like that, you hold onto it.
Thank you, Megan...for being you, so I am free to be me.
On the one year anniversary of attending Choices, it's definitely been a journey. One I wouldn't have had the bravery to face alone, without Choices.
When we went, they asked you to take three months after G2, to make any major decisions. I did not wait. I was never patient. But I understand completely now, why they asked that. Three months was not even long enough for me to really understand a lot of the processes and tools that were presented. I stumbled and fell A LOT during those first few months. I always seem to take the long way around! A year later, I have finally taken those three months. And I finally have an answer for what Choices was, and is, to me.
It's self awareness, self acceptance and self love.
It's a common goal for humanity. It's a lifetime commitment to honesty, integrity and the path to peace. It's finding your purpose, and giving it back to others. It's understanding that habits are hard to break, but new habits can take their place...healthy habits. It's truly acknowledging that we are all human. We will all fall. But it's how we learn to fall that matters. In sports they teach us how to properly fall down, in Choices they teach us how to emotionally fall. And how to get back up without guilt, shame or regret. It's reaching out to others, and accepting a hand up. Looking to the sky, with feet planted to the ground. It's balance.
It's also hard work. And the work never stops if you're doing your job well. It's constantly asking yourself, is this who I am? Who I want to be? Then making the course adjustments to sail into your very best life. The very best version, of You. What that looks like is different for everyone, and it's accepting others just they way they are...in the exact moment of their own journey. Kindness, it doesn't cost a damn thing.
So Joe, Mary and Thelma...
Thank You seems so simple. Like not enough. You really are changing hearts, one at a time. If the whole world took Choices in school, we could start a revolution...but then again, you already have. So, Thank You for creating this program, and believing in all of Us, so we could believe in Us too.
And, just like standing up there with that microphone (which was terrifying for me)....My name is Kari, and I am a trusting woman helping others make connections. What choices gave me was, and still is, that I no longer have to justify who I am. I am enough. 💜
Today I got two messages. Both of them from different aspects of my life. But both telling me how to live it.
Now, being an adult and semi aware of the world around me, I understand that being open, vulnerable and honest...makes people cringe. It makes them uncomfortable, and often it makes them angry. When you're truly free with your life story, sometimes that doesn't sit well with the characters in your story. Gawd knows I'd be horrified to see my role in some people's lives written out for the world to see. That's why I don't mention names of the people whom have done wrong to me. With the exception of one. Because it was important to me for the world to know he is dangerous. Instead, I try to acknowledge the people who I have done wrong to. Who deserve an apology.
So this first woman tries to tell me who not to talk about, and how quickly to get over my loss. Now this is something I'd like to focus on for a minute. I believe it's extremely important: DON'T EVER LET ANYONE DETERMINE THE LENGTH OF YOUR GRIEF. Ever. Period. Your loss, is yours to experience. It's yours to mourn and it's never ok for anyone to tell you it's time to move on or get over it.
This is something I've been told a few times about my step brother. To just get over it. Mind you, the majority haven't had the courage to say it to my face...which I get. I really do. I've 100% been guilty of talking shit, and not being willing to say it out loud to those it's intended for. This can be healthy. We all need to vent. And it goes back to the idea of when someone vents to you, trusts you with their darkest thoughts...you protect that. Because one day, you will need to spew and slander and rant. And you won't mean it, deep down. It's just sometimes we need to get it out. Lose our cool, but in a safe place.
So my whole point here is to let you all know that it's ok to hurt and grieve and mourn for as long as it takes you. When you lose something that is extremely significant and important to you...please, don't let anyone push you into a place you're not at. You are awesome exactly where you're at. And the people who love you...respect you...will hold space with you in that moment. And they will stay, until you are you again. Sometimes you will be you again for weeks, months. Then you will fall, crash and burn again. And again, they will stay. Find that tribe and know that you are worthy and loved.
The second message was about what to do with my dog. Now I'm fairly certain that it was an innocent message, intended to help me out. I can appreciate that. I truly can. But not from this person. Not ever again. The trust and relationship has been so badly damaged that I'd prefer they forgot I existed. The first message told me I was "allowed" to "keep doing my dog classes", the second that I "could" breed my dog to anyone I chose, but to not with a certain stud. Gee, thanks. Thank you for the permission to live my life how I see fit. I thought that was a given, but alas, here was my permission being given to me. From someone who is a complete stranger, and another whom I wish was.
So my second point is this: DON'T. Don't tell others how to live their life, or assume that you understand their situation. Don't impose your opinion on someone because of a moment of ego filled passion. Don't let how they live, affect who you are. Even if they're wrong, don't.
I've done this too many times to count on both hands and feet. But I'm trying to learn. I'm trying to live and let live. I have some very strong opinions. Everything from religion to sea world, and I often let the world know exactly what those opinions are. However I'm trying to remember with each and every encounter I have, to not bring my own opinions into the life of someone else. Advice is one thing when asked for, imposing is a whole other thing. Social media often blurs these lines. It can be perceived as an open invitation to say what you want, when you want, and to who you want without filter or consideration. I suppose that's exactly what I'm doing right now. So just do your best, and try not to directly interfere with anyone's freedom of voice, and freedom of choice.
I've had this quote since the very year my "decent into madness" began. I put it up in my kitchen last week and for some reason tonight, when I looked at this, I truly understood it. I'm in the rebuilding stage and these last 4 years were my rock bottom. My storyline. And I know why tonight it hit me. Because I responded the exact opposite tonight to a situation than I ever would have before...and I didn't even think about it. I just answered. I only realized afterwards alllll the things I really would like to say. I reacted with truth...then inside my head had a hay day with all the things I knew were also true, but were horrible and completely crossing a trust line…when someone confesses or confides things to you, it's your duty to never use that against them. No matter how angry you get with them…so I just let it go. I let it go!!! And it involved a "friend" who tried to ruin my life. I just told an inquiring lady the truth about this person’s line of work...and didn't go into what I thought of her on a personal level. I kept that history to myself. And so looking at that, and knowing that this person contributed to my rock bottom...who actively contributed to taking away Keith from me…and who tried to take away my mom with her vicious lies...I finally understood that I was in the rebuilding stage. The being a better person on a real, committed level stage. A sane level. Thank gawd, I'm a good person again. I'm trustworthy and stable. I waited a long time to say that about my anxiety and emotions. I'm through the trauma of forgiving myself for being the one who tore my entire family apart because of Wayde. My step brother. And that's the first time I've written or spoke his name in years. All that yoga, reiki and cards shifted something!
I recently introduced my friend to “The power of vulnerability” by Brené Brown. If you haven’t heard of this lady, or seen the video…do it. And do it now! This video single handily catapulted me onto a path that first destroyed my life, then began to rebuild it. When my friend asked me what the video gave me, I responded with this:
“The connection part of it was it for me...when she explains how vital it is and I knew that what had happened (in my childhood) was deeply affecting my ability to connect to people. And I mean connect authentically, on a meaningful relationship level. I knew a lot of people, and my dog daycare business was thriving, but I was so unable to forge trusting relationships. I'd bail as soon as things required commitment or being vulnerable. I didn't want people to see that I wasn't that redneck, tough, don't need no one, take care of myself kinda gal. The truth was, I was a redneck hippie. Who deeply loves the earth and nature, and wants to make a real difference. Truly honour what makes my soul feel passionate. And for me that was the dogs, archery, guns and beer redneck side…and crystals, soulful conversations, meditation, yoga, horses, nature, and wine hippie side of me. It was ok to be both. And not apologize for it because I seem weird to people with the things I sometimes like to talk about when it comes to the metaphysical and such. So Brené Brown gave me that.”
Brené gave me my life back. She gave me this epiphany:
Courage is a heart word. And it takes mountains of it to become true to yourself in a world that wants you to be unique, but not too unique. Bold, but don't be weird. Ok be weird, but only if it's cool weird.
I don't know...I've always been awkwardly trapped between hippie and redneck. In tune, but crude. Sociable, but firm. I never could figure out what side to "be" for the public.
Tonight it was confirmed to me, I asked and I received. It's ok to be both. It's ok to be a hippie that uses the word fuck.
It's ok to honour nature by burning plants, holding crystals and breathing deeply with your bare feet on the Earth. And it's also ok to like shooting guns, riding horses, staring at the fire and drinking wine.
Ok maybe wine falls into both categories.
The point is...DO what makes your soul feel peaceful and content. Even if that makes you uncool weird.
Cause your people are out there.
I found a few more of my own tribe tonight. That feeling can't be topped. You feel accepted. No judgement. Just peace and love.
Every generation has a group of people who get that. And they are the ones changing the world in small, significant ways. They are the ones protecting nature and goodness and hope.
Cause without hope, we give up.
Don't give up.
Find your tribe.
And just be.
This conversation inevitably lead to talking about a course I attended after I decided it was time to become who I truly am.
Choices. Ah, Choices. What hasn’t it given me? But this is how that conversation went…
“Choices gave me the statement "I don't have to justify who I am." And so much more…but that was my “stand up in front of the room and tell them what Choices was about for you” statement. Another huge thing I took from choices was my past…again...how it was giving me these crazy, rant-tastic reactions to the slightest amount of rejection. Being told no. Changes in plans. Someone not wanting to do something. These kinda things sent me into shit storm land. And I couldn't explain why, it was like watching myself, but being unable to stop the train wreck. I knew I had to let go of the pain that caused mistrust and rejection issues...I had to forgive my step brother, but also report him...I needed to be able to handle myself. See things from a much higher perspective, and realize every single human being is facing their own world of struggles, triumphs, and all the ups and downs of life…so sometimes what I thought was rejection or thoughtlessness of me...was actually people trying to deal with their own shit show. That's why the “rodeo incident” was SO huge for me. I was able to trust myself to control my emotions completely. While drinking to boot! That whole night...you, standing barefoot with those horses on the sidelines, (a friend) showing me those outhouses I didn't even know where there as we're looking for my phone...all of that was preparing me for the explosion! And I took the signs, I followed them by what I thought was right. I trusted the universe. And I trusted myself.” The actual events of what took place that night aren’t important. What is important is I trusted myself and the Universe to take care of me.
So between Choices and Brené, I was able to build my tools and actually put them into practice. I started to rebuild my life.
I've finally come to true peace. Knowing I can survive and also thrive on my own. I can have meaningful relationships and not completely fucking decimate them. I can finally BE that person I was struggling so hard to be. I've let go of the anger, shame, fear and anxiety. The only real dark emotions I struggle with now are sadness and guilt. Because I'm in the place now that I was scratching and crawling and destroying others to get to. I am finally through the SLUDGE. I still have drama as we all do, but not chaos. And I'm able to handle the drama. Handle myself. Trust myself. Guilt and sadness remain because I am finally the person who can be with Keith, and be his pillar. His home. His safe place. His love. His June...maybe I'm Johnny. The self-destructive who became a self-healer. Either way, the kinda Johnny and June soul mate story. A classic. But I'll never have him again. I'll never get to stand next to him and prove that in the end I did the work for myself, but also to be with him. To honour him because he's my witch, and I'm his Druid wannabe. And because he is strong, yet sensitive...he deserves amazing. I finally know I'm amazing. And that's what I wish he knew. That I slayed the dragon...with my raven card and crystals.
So yeah. Brené started the change in my life. Choices gave me the tools. It was worth the four year "street fight", as she would say. I found my best friend, my best clients, and my best self...now to find my best teammate. My Johnny...my witch...my Keith 2.0!
Never will I allow life to take my sparkle ever again...so shine on beautiful humans. Because, hey, if I can do it...anyone can.
It hit me today that I needed to thank you. Not because you caused me 20 years of pent up anxiety, or because I ruined relationship after relationship due to the inability trust myself, which was a byproduct of you. And what you did. Not because I suffered mentally and emotionally over the thoughts of not being good enough, and hating myself for my lack of belief in other human beings because of you. Not for the way I am unable to fully love another soul because you instilled in me very young that the people closest to you, hurt you the most. Not because you violated me physically and emotionally. Not because you deserve any sort of recognition for being a decent human being. No. Not for any of that. But instead for this. Her. My best friend. My constant compaion. Because I became so anxious over the years that the best treatment for my "condition", became her. This beautiful, loving, amazing creature I've come to know as the only thing in life that hasn't let me down. The incredible heartbeat at my feet. Who has seen thousands of tears, taken away years of heartache...just by being. By existing. By placing a head on my lap when my heart begins to beat rapidly. And not because I'm excited or hopeful, but because I'm overwhelmed and terrified. I've struggled to fit in...stand in a crowd and not panic. But with her, I've learned to breathe through the uncomfortable. Teach a class without holding my breath. Make new friends...over and over again. Get up, face the day, and then rest peacefully. So thank you not for all those hurts, but for this one thing that doesn't hurt. Not even a little bit. Thank you for this feeling, this love, this bond. Thank you, for Vandal.
"I feel compelled to re post this when it popped up as a memory.
Also I feel called to say what I have been avoiding for weeks and to honor the love and the man that said I was enough from the day he met me, took me in and loved me with all his might including my flaws and short comings, and only sought that i return. I was enough in his eyes and his heart, but not in my own.
It makes my heart swell and I am filled with intense grief at the same moment for the us that was.
I remember the excitement of traveling to Mexico for the first time with the man that made my heart so happy. I remember how his body felt behind me as we snuggled in to snap this image to post on FB. This was a happier time on all accounts... a time when we took such deep comfort in each others embrace, when we only wanted to be with each other, and when we truly had the others back.
God I wish for those days again, and for that feeling of certainty that we would love and last our way into rocking chairs and walkers.
I was so in love and so happy and at peace in myself and with my husband and best friend Hugo.
We had NO clue what the next trip to Mexico would entail, how that attack became the catalyst and would under pin the slow and painful devolving of our once blissed out marriage. How we would pull back and guard and eventually see the other as the enemy. I am broken hearted today, and have been for several months as I see the man I adored moving further and further away from me. I did so many things I said I would not do, I pushed Hugo away and I placed conditions on my love and more damaging than that... I put conditions on his love for me.
I see the reel of flashbacks in my minds eye daily where I pulled away, pushed away, and rejected his love and support when I could have just said yes and leaned in. I rejected me, in rejecting him. I didn't know what to do or say, I craved the comfort you see in the image above, but knew not how to seek, ask for, or create it anymore. I often said the worst and did the worst things possible causing more heartache and worry, anger, and distance than I could ever have imagined. What I could not see in so many moments that I see now is that I was the one backing away. I was the one rejecting Hugo, and in essence.. My self. The distance between us kept growing and building resentment and anger along the way because let's face it it is way easier to be pissed off and righteous than be vulnerable and honest.
I am currently negotiating a separation agreement and soon I will no longer live with my husband and I nearly throw up when I think of that reality.
I know it takes two to make a relationship work, and two to fight, and two to blah blah blah... But this post is not a t all about justification or blame. I write today because I need to take responsibility for all the times Hugo tried, and I said no. I also need to say I'm so deeply sorry to have en flicked the pain of rejection on another person, most of all the man that said I choose you Darren and you are enough. The man I chose and married.
For those of you that will took the time to read this thank you for being my sacred space to begin to release this pain of knowing I hurt the man I loved the deepest. And to be honest about where I'm at.
Please if you have a loved significant other grab them and hold them a little longer than usual tonight. Tell them how much you love them and how much they impact and improve your life. Even if they make you angry, or upset. Remember with your heart, not your mind how they make you feel.
I know no one can take away the joy we shared and the amazing things we set out to accomplish and did, and my precious memories of happiness and comfort with him at my side... Those are locked in me for ever and thank god for that. AND no one can take away this intense pain of grief and loss when the man I love and want back so badly says "you went to far, and you cut too deep and I can't be with you any longer".
And the truth is.. I did...
Love each other.. Do good in your world, hold tight teh dearest of loves you have availblr to do so, and more than all of that.... LOVE YOU!!
I am enough... My new/old mantra.
Hugo Stoupe, Thank you for choosing me 5 years ago, you were and still are a BRAVE beautiful man. I'm sorry I have been so toxic and mean in the last few months and I truly hope this is not the end of my time with you. It will be different being on our own, but I still love you, I always will and I want to be in your corner once again should you feel that is right for you.
For those of you that know us both, LOVE US BOTH, and For those of you that only know me... LOVE US BOTH!!
Break ups are fucking hard, and trust me I have hurt us both enough to last a life time. It's time for Joy, and for LOVE.
Lastly, It is my Mom and Dad's 44th anniversary, a reality I will never experience, but I will reap the joy and the victory vicariously because I now truly understand the LOVE, tolerance, faith, sacrifice, patience, and shear grit and determination it takes to choose that same person day in day out, in teh face of all that life throws at you.
Congrats Mom (Betty) and Dad. <3 :-)"
First off, clearly I didn't write this. I hummed about editing it, quoting parts, or ignoring its statement all together. I've decided to honour its message in its entirety. As I made my way deeper and deeper into this post, I was a sobbing mess. It struck so many familiar cords, that I reverted back to a time I was trying to pretend didn't exist. I reread my friends message over and over, letting his pain convey my own. Seeing his honesty...his vulnerability...his open wounds. They mimicked my own. They talked of the kind of open wounds that I realized were still there. I'd covered them up, but they haven't healed.
I then debated on posting a blog on this at all. I mean who cares, right? Who was even going to read it? And are those who did, going to judge it? Was it going to end up too long of a read for anyone to even make it this far, to the part you're now on? Will they even make it to my words? Then I realized I don't care. This blog has always been for myself. Somewhere along the way, I suppose I had forgotten that this blog started as a way to sort of cleanse my soul of all the emotions, feelings and destruction that was happening within my anxious being. And even though my soul is no longer anxious, I still find the writing aspect to be...healing. The timing was perfect. I started this blog one year ago, just before the Wild Fires...and here they are showing up in my "memories". And so here it is. My friends words broken down into what they meant to me. How his openness...changed my world. How his passion, has provided an outlet for me to continue to write. How perfectly imperfect his tribute became my own. I feel you, Darren. I cry for, and with you. And I'll continue to heal with you.
"Also I feel called to say what I have been avoiding for weeks and to honor the love and the man that said I was enough from the day he met me, took me in and loved me with all his might including my flaws and short comings, and only sought that i return. I was enough in his eyes and his heart, but not in my own."...this opening paragraph drew me completely in and held me. How someone else out there, that I actually knew, understood completely they struggle of "I am enough"...and believing it. Saying it is one thing, faking it til you make it...but truly seeing yourself as another sees you...that's downright impossible for me at times. Knowing my worth, on an intellectual level, is easy. I'm human, I'm alive...therefore I'm enough. Got it. Believing it? Much harder to accomplish. It's with grit and determination that I've allowed myself to accept what I said, what I did...can't be taken back. And it'll be that same grit and determination that will allow another human being to tell me once again, that I am enough in their eyes. And then begin telling myself that I am. I had that "love with all his might", and not only did I toss it aside, I made sure I crumpled it up and lit it on fire first. Being unable to accept that you are worthy of that "love with all his might"...is such a panicked and ugly place to be. Looking back at that place, makes me cringe. So...forward it is.
"We had NO clue what the next trip to Mexico would entail, how that attack became the catalyst and would under pin the slow and painful devolving of our once blissed out marriage. How we would pull back and guard and eventually see the other as the enemy. I am broken hearted today, and have been for several months as I see the man I adored moving further and further away from me. I did so many things I said I would not do, I pushed Hugo away and I placed conditions on my love and more damaging than that... I put conditions on his love for me.
I see the reel of flashbacks in my minds eye daily where I pulled away, pushed away, and rejected his love and support when I could have just said yes and leaned in. I rejected me, in rejecting him. I didn't know what to do or say, I craved the comfort you see in the image above, but knew not how to seek, ask for, or create it anymore. I often said the worst and did the worst things possible causing more heartache and worry, anger, and distance than I could ever have imagined. What I could not see in so many moments that I see now is that I was the one backing away. I was the one rejecting Hugo, and in essence.. My self. The distance between us kept growing and building resentment and anger along the way because let's face it it is way easier to be pissed off and righteous than be vulnerable and honest.".......ugh. Just read that again...the absolute devastation at the realization that as we push away the ones that love us the most...that accept our...Kariness...we damage and push away ourselves. We reflect our own inner turmoil onto the ones we so desperately want to keep around. Why do we do that? Why did Darren do that? Why did I do that? Though our traumas are different, it was ultimately dealing with those traumas that forced us to unwillingly explode onto those we who we thought could handle our moments of sheer...panic. Moments of doubt, fear, anger and...confusion. I often had no idea why. Why the hell am I acting this way, saying these things, hurting the person I love more than any human on the planet? Why? It took years of professional help to answer those whys. It took digging deep, and just trudging through the waste deep shit that had become my inner dialog from a lifelong pact with myself to just stuff those memories and feelings...oh, but those feelings and memories never stay stuffed do they? Not when a once in a lifetime love comes along. What a perfect time to explode all my chaos onto the person who truly loves me...for me. Good plan, Kari. Good plan. I know now that it wasn't on purpose. I mean none of us go into our days thinking, "yep, today I'm going to just F up my entire life"...no, it wasn't like that at all. It was more, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! *sigh* How did I get to this place?"
"I know it takes two to make a relationship work, and two to fight, and two to blah blah blah... But this post is not a t all about justification or blame. I write today because I need to take responsibility for all the times Hugo tried, and I said no. I also need to say I'm so deeply sorry to have en flicked the pain of rejection on another person, most of all the man that said I choose you Darren and you are enough. The man I chose and married."....I don't even think I'm ready to express how this recognition and apology struck me. Hurting someone who loves you...loves you so deeply...so..."all in". Devastating. Unforgivable. Shameful. These are the things I feel about the amount of hurt I placed on another human. On MY human. THE human...for me. The one who chose me back...that kind of guilt...takes a lifetime to get over.
"Please if you have a loved significant other grab them and hold them a little longer than usual tonight. Tell them how much you love them and how much they impact and improve your life. Even if they make you angry, or upset. Remember with your heart, not your mind how they make you feel."...Remember with your heart, not your mind...these were ultimately the words that are the lesson for me. For when you break the man you love the most, these are the words of wisdom that have got to be taken from it all. To never allow yourself to chip away at any other person that way again. To play this game of love with your heart, not your head. Because it's not a game. You don't always get to fold the board up nicely, and try to master it again tomorrow. It's not about strategies and how to win...it's about how to accept. And love them back. How to attack the traumas together, rather than treat them like the enemy. They were never the enemy. This was never a game.
"I know no one can take away the joy we shared and the amazing things we set out to accomplish and did, and my precious memories of happiness and comfort with him at my side... Those are locked in me for ever and thank god for that. AND no one can take away this intense pain of grief and loss when the man I love and want back so badly says "you went to far, and you cut too deep and I can't be with you any longer".
And the truth is.. I did...".....as did I. And the truth is although I am truly happy...truly moving forward...truly in a good place. A balanced place. A calmer place...it's because I've put these memories in a box. And I don't let them out. I don't look at them. Not in the presence of anyone else anyways. Because holding onto those memories has prevented me from allowing another to love me that way. And mostly I'm not ready for another love like that. I don't think I ever will be, truthfully. I know that my "Hugo", he was the One. And it wasn't perfect, and we both made mistakes...but it doesn't change the soul. The connection. I just have to live without that connection...I have to live with my own self now. Continue being strong on my own two feet. Find another. Become peaceful in the reality of my situation. I've allowed the pain to dull, and become manageable. And so, as always, forward...
"Love each other.. Do good in your world, hold tight teh dearest of loves you have availblr to do so, and more than all of that.... LOVE YOU!!
I am enough... My new/old mantra." This pretty well speaks for itself. Love you.
"Hugo Stoupe, Thank you for choosing me 5 years ago, you were and still are a BRAVE beautiful man. I'm sorry I have been so toxic and mean in the last few months and I truly hope this is not the end of my time with you. It will be different being on our own, but I still love you, I always will and I want to be in your corner once again should you feel that is right for you.
For those of you that know us both, LOVE US BOTH, and For those of you that only know me... LOVE US BOTH!!"....Keith Richardson, thank you for choosing me for 5 years. You are brave and beautiful. I'm sorry I was so toxic and mean. I know this is the end of my time with you. It's been different on my own, but I still love you. I always will. I'm still in your corner.
"Break ups are fucking hard, and trust me I have hurt us both enough to last a life time. It's time for Joy, and for LOVE.
Lastly, It is my Mom and Dad's 44th anniversary, a reality I will never experience, but I will reap the joy and the victory vicariously because I now truly understand the LOVE, tolerance, faith, sacrifice, patience, and shear grit and determination it takes to choose that same person day in day out, in teh face of all that life throws at you."....it was my grandparents anniversary at pretty well the exact same time. And interestingly enough, I had the same thoughts of "I'll never have that". But I do faithfully believe, that one day I will have a love again. Maybe not THE love...but I will find a true, honest love again. Because I am enough.
My PTSD from childhood came roaring into my life when I was 28. It was crazy. I felt like I was literally losing my mind, and I practically did at moments. I didn't have a single clue PTSD could be a result of childhood trauma to be honest. I knew it was very real for people who have been to war or badly tortured, but I don't think I was aware enough at the time to realize that's what was happening to me. I hadn't considered my own story to be traumatizing. I was just basically confused and angry, wandering around trying to help myself with no clue where to begin. Then I discovered this awesome counsellor that found the way to break it down for me in a way that made sense in my brain. She was very real with me and I appreciated that. She allowed my "light bulb" moment to happen.
It was such a loooong, grueling 4 years before I finally got a 95% handle on the anxiety this last summer. It took needing to lose everything that was ridiculously important to me, for me to start healing myself. To actually be selfish and take time to ride my horses and meditate until my mind believed I was worthy of the love and belonging I had been pushing away when PTSD slammed into me. To accept acceptance. Because horses and hippy stuff was what I needed to heal. Took me awhile to figure out that if horses and hippity dippity stuff were what reset my soul, I HAD to dedicate time to it, to heal and move on. I had to stop fighting the idea that my healing should look something like "just keep busy”, “get over it", "a couple counselling sessions and just relax is what you need" or my personal favourite the idea of "giving it time, and time will heal".
I think that time creates a space for growth. And growth heals. But you have got to allow yourself the time to grow. For me, that took Four. Freaking. Years. I had to completely lose my mind, lose everything to me, and then breathe.
I completely lost my mind because I met a boy, who I wanted to be with forever, and I knew that meant facing my past. I was finally doing the counselling and the courses and the self help crap "they" talk about. Let me tell you, that crap works. Truth! But what they don't stress enough is that it's going to be ass kicking, gut punched, teeth knocked out- kinda hard. It'll be a street fight, especially if you lack grace like myself. You'll suffer the loss of important people. But the right people will stick through all that losing the mind bit, to make it to the breathing part. When you have to spend a half a decade holding your breath, and just slugging your way through the emotions of pain, anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, and on and on. But you march on, and continue to improve until one day you realize you're breathing on your own again and that's when it's time to honour the soul and just DO what "healing" looks like to YOU.
That breathing, "finally through the mess part", just happened for me this summer and that's when I decided to take a victory vacation and just rode horses and practised hippity stuff for about 6 months. Now I'm ready to be back in the real world, and why I reopened the dog daycare. Because I can handle my shit now. I've come full circle back to what I used to love before my PTSD came crashing through the wall like the damn kool-aid man.
Anxiety and depression, PTSD and trauma...they're ass-holes. The whole lot of them. And they force you to shut down, or get tough. I feel like both happened to me. I shut down, and then got tough. I took responsibility for my emotions, and my life. And in the end, I also got happy. I got to start over. I absolutely wish I could start over with a certain few still in my life, but it is...what it is. I can't change those people. Nor can I take back what I said, did, or how I made them feel. I can only send out love and apologies, and then hope that they understand some day. It wasn't them. It was 100% me, battling a demon with any tools I could grab on my way down.
For me, the struggle was always with anxiety. Abandonment was what I would say "we" agreed was likely the core issue, as I felt betrayed and left behind by some key people pretty young in my life. I battled with this the most, followed by guilt. Extreme guilt about being a burden, created my becoming a burden. And I always, always felt guilty the most after I had hurt someone with my anxious malfunctions and angry flashes. It was a total loss of control. And it wasn't fun. Not even in like an, ok that felt kinda good to get that off my chest, kinda way. It hurt people's feelings, emotions and souls. Trust me, malfunction doesn't begin to describe it.
And so I believe now that anxiety controls what you allow it to control. And sometimes it is a bitch to get back on the road. Emotional distress, scares me. It scares me because it took over me. And now that I have myself back, my own control...I'm better able to have a normal relationship with a man. Able to retain relationships with close friends again. And there's a few I would not have made it through that storm without. Because they knew me before the storm. They saw through the garbage my storm was tossing around, and they believed in me. Who I was at my core. So, they held onto whatever stability they could, and rode out the chaos with me. Until I was me again.
Regrettably, I lost that man this all started for, to a forceful piece of debris I couldn't redirect. But I found myself. I found the person that I wanted to become, for him. Now it's for me.
And all I had to do was get serious with nature. All along, I just had to face the storm and learn how to take the tools and skills in front of me and shield myself from the storm until it passed, and then be able to calmly within myself know that I truly deserved the love and kindness shown by others. I just needed to pass that love and kindness on.
And with that, I decided that how I wanted to continue to serve others, was through the connection to animals and self. It's always been nature for me.
Here's my offer.
An anxiety and dogs, breathing and meditation, arts and crafts, let's get calm and creative type course. A "Do it for You" kinda day.
That's it, no catches. I want to donate my time as a trainer, and bring in my friend who is a yogi, to help us all catch a little zen.
This can only accommodate around 8 individuals. So please, please be patient if we can't get everyone in the first course. We really are excited to see how this course plays out, so we can see about moving forward with it in the future as a regular thing. Please call, email, message or drop in to sign up for this course or express interest. We will announce a date once we determine the interest level. Thank you all.
2016 has been that "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out" kinda year.🚪(Bye, Felicia!) For not just me, but a lot of people. I lost tons more friends, finally got out of an emotionally abusive relationship, removed even family from my life, and struggled to make it "alone" without all these people🌌. BUT it was also the year I found myself, truly. The year I made new, flexible friends. Cut my anxiety down by about 1000 points. Don't ask me how many points there are total...all I know is I'm lighter. Freer. Happier. 🌄
I rode horses🐴 and hung out with dogs.🐶 All without the guilt and worry that I wasn't doing what I was "supposed" to be doing.🤖 I became ok with the fact that I don't miss kids, oil workers and being told who I was, wasn't good enough. Then being lured back in with fading words of a soul who was too afraid to be alone to just let me go. I'm talking about more than just a spouse, there were many of these hearts trying to "help", in all the wrong ways, for me. They didn't understand my soul is not their soul.🔮 And that's ok. Sometimes it's ok to just not understand each other.
I finally reported my abuser to the authorities,🚔 so they could do, or not do, what they felt was right. And lifted the responsibility and anger from my own shoulders. I started to move past this trauma, at my own damn pace instead of being rushed by those who just wanted me to "get over it".😒 This is my life, not theirs. I heal on my own terms, not yours.
As I look back I realize this year has been about tearing down, and rebuilding.🛠 Fixing what needed fixing. It was about plans and schedules and routines.📋 Creating better habits. Releasing my terrible reactions, and gaining control of my emotions.✌🏼️ Which was needed.
But this year, I'm going to give myself a break. I'm gonna wing it.🎉 I'm gonna stop trying to fix, and just accept. Stop trying to be normal and find the weird and wonderful.🦄 The ones who really are completely themselves. I'm tired of those who talk the talk, but never walk the walk. So if you see me walking out, it's likely because I've decided to take my own advice, and stop talking.🤐🚶
I continue to wish you all love,💜 light,✨ happiness,😃 and as always, a second round of love💞...as you navigate your own lives, in your own beautiful way. Don't ever let anyone tell you the grass is greener,🌱 cause I promise you the flowers off the path...they're blue and yellow and purple and green.💐 And they accept you, just as you are.
To a blessed 2017 💫
Do what ya gotta do-Garth Brooks
I heard this song almost a year ago, randomly on the radio after many years, and it inspired this entire blog. Now, with Garth coming back, and scoring tickets to the show...I'm finally brave enough to post the blog that has been rustling within me for a very long time...I wrote it a year ago.
"Feelings buried alive, never die."
All this talk over the years about "don't care what other people think! Be yourself!" has been a lie. At least that's what I'm being told these days. Instead I'm being told to stuff it, shut up. And most importantly keep it off social media.
It took me a few days to figure out why. It wasn't because "Facebook was an inappropriate place" to discuss my sexual violations, it was because they were embarrassed that what happened to me as a kid, under their roof, might reflect poorly on them as family. Or that someone might assume as to "who it was". The truth?
My step brother sexually violated me as a kid. There was some heated comments about word usage here.
So here's the definitions for clarifications sake (and I assure you both are accurate definitions in my case):
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person's consent.
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is forcing undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or (often pejoratively) molester.
And I don't believe he's stopped for a second.
So, about three years ago I finally got the courage to tell the family and "out" him as the pedophile I believed him to still be.
Again, the definition for clarification is:
Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger.
Psychiatric. That means they don't get better without help. They don't just stop.
So I confronted my step "brother" and his reaction was to turtle. I gave him the option of seeking help, with the family's support, or I would begin writing letters. He chose the latter. So I began writing letters to his school (yes he's a teacher) and to the local police services. All were very thankful for the information, as they would have a nice red flag if anyone else came forward about him. I also began to hear stories of at least a half dozen more he did this to, including into his adult years.
The family was initially very supportive of me. One counselling session (which the whole family except one attended) was seen as good enough. Time to sweep this under the rug. With the exceptions of my grandparents (may the universe bless them) and my biological brother, everyone else continued to have a relationship with the perpetrator without his seeking intense therapy for his disorder.
This leads us to the place where I wanted to share my trauma by expressing that I had been a victim of sexual violations also, in a random Facebook post. All hell broke loose.
How dare I? Facebook was not the place! How could I reach out to others in such a public fashion? What nerve I had to share my story. Sounds kinda stupid when you put it that way doesn't it?
In the end, I chose to take the post down with the notion that if I deleted my personal story, they must delete him from their lives until he got help. Not forever, but until he got serious, intense help.
I didn't get supported. Instead, I basically got outted from the family. I tried to tell them to get real. This was the decision? That because of a few personal words I put on Facebook I was out? But they would continue to have a relationship with a molester? It still doesn't make sense in my head. In essence, I was told to just be quiet about it. Move on.
That's victim shaming at it's finest.
Victim shaming definition:
There isn't one. So I made mine up. When people shame people who are the victims of a crime, into silence in public forums because of how others might perceive their story.
This is how I'm moving on. Thank you to the dozens of people who sent messages of "me too". And the one person, because of my story, who had the courage to face their own family member. You're all brave and worthy. Your stories are allowed to be heard for as long as you need to heal. And to connect to others because of it. Don't you dare stay silent for the sake of a few. You may help hundreds.
My family are not bad people. They are just hurt, embarrassed and unsure how to cope themselves. I love them, but for my mental health, this is important too. I know that with this story I may lose more family, maybe some friends. But if blood is thicker than water, LOVE is thicker than blood. And those who stand beside me are the warriors I want in my corner anyways.
May you all find peace and love in whatever your struggle is.